Lawyer Ousainou Darboe

(JollofNews) – The secretary-general of the Gambia’s United Democratic Party (UDP) has rubbished reports that he is controlling and influencing the decisions of President Adama Barrow.

Lawyer Ousainou Darboe said such reports are nothing but a figment of people’s imaginations.

“I’ve never in any way dictated anything to President Adama Barrow,” he said.

Mr Darboe was last year elected head of the UDP at the party’s congress in Basse. However, a few months later, he was arrested and jailed by the former Gambian regime of Yahya Jammeh after he led a street protest to demand answers over the death in custody of the party’s organising secretary, Ebrima Solo Sandeng.

Mr Sandeng had led a protest which ended with Gambian security forces beating and arresting dozens for making a public call for electoral reform and the resignation of President Yahya Jammeh.

While in prison, his party was forced in the run up to the general election to elect Adama Barrow as its new leader.

And in another twist of fate, Mr Barrow was elected head of an opposition coalition, which defeated President Yahya Jammeh in the December 2016 election. His election victory led to the release of all political prisoners from prison including Mr Darboe.

Mr Darboe was later named Foreign minister in Mr Barrow’s  government.

He said the new regime is focused on righting the wrongs of the Jammeh regime and described President Barrow’s 100-days in office as  very successful.

“We are not doing things just appeasingly,” he told the BBC’s Focus On Africa Programme. “I think people are really eager but we have to be a little bit patient. The state of our coffers at the time when we assumed power was virtually empty.”

Commenting on the shortage of heavy-duty fuel in the country, Mr Darboe said the government is working to address the situation. He however warned that the government will not rely on unscrupulous people to import heavy-duty fuel into the country at the expense of the Gambians.